I’m in Finnish Lapland! Again?? This is my third time visiting one of the northernmost regions in Europe in just over a year and there is just no end in sight to my crazy love affair with this place. My passion for this winter wonderland however, is not the only reason I am here.
My previous stay was aimed at learning more about the Sami (the indigenous people of Lapland) culture. I was researching their customs, traditions, clothing and food. I was even lucky enough to attend one of their biggest events in the Sami calendar: the Reindeer Races (more about that another time) and I was invited to celebrate Easter the Sami way. It really was an eventful four weeks that only made me fall harder for this fascinating culture and the breath-taking nature of the North. What struck me was that up here nature is still in control and people adjust their pace of life to it. The people up here know how to live as one with nature. They have ways of dealing with the challenges that the extreme weather conditions in Lapland post and there was one thing in particular that I wanted to experience: the Polar Night (when the sun doesn’t rise).
I used to think of Nordic countries in the winter time and imagine an endless darkness. I thought people must be getting depressed living with the constant lack of light and sunshine. But then I visited Lapland and my opinion completely changed when I realised that up here light and darkness are not necessarily connected to the times of sunrise and sunset. While you’ll experience day, night and short periods of twilight in between in most places, Lapland has a completely different colour palette to offer. From beautiful winter pastels to popping neon colours – the colours of the sky here are nothing short of a rainbow. In short: I was fascinated with the light in Finnish Lapland and knew that the Polar Night is something I just had to experience in person.
So when the opportunity arose to return to Lapland I didn’t hesitate, but I knew this time would be different. Better. This time I will be researching what life 450km North of the Arctic Circle is like during Polar Night from behind the scenes – as a tourist guide.
I am spending my time working in Utsjoki, Finland as a tourist guide for Aurora Holidays and in the coming weeks I want to not only share my experience with you, but also help you shed light on what challenges travellers might face during Polar Night in the Arctic, give you tips on what gear you’re going to need and of course, provide you with lots of visual inspiration for your Nordic travels.
Keep your eyes peeled for my first blog post from Lapland about what to expect from a Northern Light Photography course. Spoilers may be found on my social media channels. So if you don’t want to ruin the surprise, do not, I repeat, do not browse my Instagram gallery.